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Donald Trump’s popularity soars among Gen Z

The Zoomers' choice. Credit: Getty

April 23, 2024 - 7:00pm

Democrats are losing the huge advantage they’ve long held among young voters, largely due to Generation Z’s surprising affinity for Donald Trump.

Polls from the past year show a tipping point as Trump has climbed to near-parity with Joe Biden among Gen Z, but the trend has been underway for years.

Hillary Clinton had a 30-point lead over Trump in 2016 among voters aged 18-29, and Biden had a 24-point lead over his White House predecessor in 2020. But by July 2023, Biden was only leading Trump by 10 points; that lead shrunk to a single point in October and stayed steady in April, according to New York Times/Siena polling.

Biden’s popularity with young voters has been roughly stable since July, but Trump’s has spiked from 37 to 45%. Biden’s lead shrunk more among young voters over the past year than among any other age group, indicating a generational trend.

Gen Z is more racially diverse than older generations, so as Trump makes gains among black and Hispanic voters, he makes gains with those under 25. Young voters are also consistently more likely to have concerns about Biden’s age, the economy under his leadership and his support for Israel.

But Gen Z’s pro-Trump streak isn’t just a matter of policy. This generation’s detached sense of irony inures them against the earnest anti-Trump fervor of millennials, who comprised the youth voter demographic when he ran for office in 2016.

Young men are the primary drivers of Gen Z’s Rightward shift, with a gap as large as 30 percentage points between men and women on liberal versus conservative identification. This is evident on social media, with the ascendance of Right-wing masculinity influencers such as Bronze Age Pervert and Sol Brah, who strike a chord with what one conservative Zoomer described to me as “the most despairing generation”. The MeToo moment impaired gender relations, with young men hesitant to directly approach women outside of dating apps, and the resulting loneliness and resentment has made reactionary politics appealing to male Zoomers, he told me.

Gen Z came of age when the internet was awash with Trump memes and catchphrases — many such cases; fake news; they’re not sending their best. If his zaniness was off-putting to older voters, it’s endearing to Zoomers. Trump, perhaps aware of this, has begun pitching himself as the pro-TikTok candidate in this year’s election.

“Just so everyone knows, especially the young people, Crooked Joe Biden is responsible for banning TikTok”, the former president recently wrote on Truth Social. “Young people, and lots of others, must remember this on November 5th, ELECTION DAY, when they vote!”


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

No doubt trumpy will be yet another disapointment to gen z. In my opinion anyway melenials are born 1981 to 2007 ( reagan to economic crash). A generation is 25 years mofos. See the work of Howe abd Strauss ( the fourth turning is here). The real gen z wont be voting for a while ( if ever)

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Millennials were born from 1981 to 1996.

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Agree, the main difference being between digital users (millenials) versus digital natives (gen z)

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Is there more than one person using this nom de plume or are you arguing with yourself?

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago

Apparently “Unheard Reader” is the tag everyone who didn’t come up with a name for themselves when they joined gets.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

Thanks, I had been wondering. I initially assumed that one witty individual had purloined it good and early. Makes sense now and explains the wildly varying tones of the comments. How did they avoid adding a name though?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Mofos? Shouldn’t you be on tiktok?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago

Been anticipating this for a while now. Newton’s third law of motion. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and here it comes. Get ready college educated millennials for when your kids grow up and reject everything you stand for the same way you did for your parents. This is just the beginning of the swing. It’s gonna get so much worse.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Can’t happen soon enough.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I think the process you describe only applies in periods of relative social peace. Any young blue collar voter in 2024 can see that continued mass illegal immigration on the current scale is going to destroy his future. It’s no longer a matter of fashion or peer group conformity.

I suspect that for every voter telling pollsters that they’ll vote for Trump there’s another who’s lying.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Oh I do hope so

martin ordody
martin ordody
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Why worse? Was it good so far???

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

When did Biden ban Tic Tok? Some very Republican states have or want to, but Congress is still in the discussion stage. This article is disingenuous because she begins by implying that the Trump support is coming from the overall population of Gen Z. Then she goes on to say that the support is coming from the male members of Gen Z. That’s obvious, as men in general have moved to the right. The vast majority of Gen Z’s women are Democrats, and many of them are the blue-haired wokesters. Trump, who they blame for the overturning of Roe, isn’t even on their radar. Some may, however, vote for the also old Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 month ago

I suppose that we readers have no clue about social media and its notorious “influencers.”

William Brand
William Brand
1 month ago

Trump is better than any Democrat on policy. His personal morals are those of an ally cat. He is without honor. I would like MAGA to pick someone else to carry the proletarian American banner, but this is what we get. With Biden and the Woke crowd we are doomed but with Trump we are only embarrassed. Biden gives us that idiot Kamala Harris and the Woke crowd. Trump will need to pick a VP who acts as an impeachment or assignation blocker. The VP will need to be so distasteful that the CIA and FBI cancel plots to kill Trump. God save us if the likes of Rep Green become president.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 month ago
Reply to  William Brand

Biden is much more embarrassing than Trump…. And frankly his morals are questionable too.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 month ago

Biden’s blow-with-the-wind stupidity is what concerns me….

martin ordody
martin ordody
1 month ago

Everyone knows that Biden and his son are crooks, and so ist the whole current legal system in the US.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  William Brand

Are his morals any different from those of either Clinton? Is sending mean tweets and making salacious jokes worse than abusing an intern with a cigar, making repeated trips to a paedophile brothel or wrecking an entire country just to get a ratings boost in an election year?

j watson
j watson
1 month ago

Be interesting to have a feel for what proportion of Gen Z males likely to vote. The youngest Gen Z’s are currently c12yrs old, oldest mid to late 20s. One imagines there may be a demographic within Gen Z more likely to be registered and vote.
The Author refers to a Poll a few months ago. One also does wonder what impact Trump’s current criminal Court case, with the stories of how he treated women getting a further airing, might play to Gen Z. Perhaps for some Tate type males it’d play v well, but one suspects they are a minority. Of course Gen Z may remain largely unaware but usually something this big leaks into the consciousness.
More broadly having a contrarian reflex at that age not unique. Much though can happen next 6mths and the idea Trump won’t score some big own goals yet even his biggest supporters wouldn’t exclude.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

You’re missing the point. Only relatively wealthy people can afford to base their politics on these largely irrelevant social media abstractions. For the rest of us it’s about policy. Open borders, war mongering and the promotion of racism and criminal impunity are toxic to the prospects of young men. So it’s perfectly rational to vote for someone who offers something different.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

If it were really on ‘offer’ you might have a point. But the reality is he offers 4yrs of chaos. Of course if you don’t have much to lose that can still seem appealing, until it doesn’t.
My added point though was how many might vote? Always a worry with the younger.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Four years of chaos? Seriously? These last four years have probably been the most chaotic of my adult lifetime and I’m nearly 60.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Get out more JV. Can seem like you say if one spends too much time in Cyberspace, but fresh air will show it ain’t as bad as one might think. Can be a problem for us oldies that we become too reliant on second hand experience and as we know with media ‘if it bleeds it leads’. Have to fight that myself.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

His last administration was a golden age of peace and prosperity for ordinary Americans compared to what Biden has given them. You look at things far too much from an elite perspective.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Now to be fair to Trump Covid wasn’t his fault, but I’m not least surprised your perspective blocks out so much.

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

We heard the same apocalyptic doom mongering in 2016. Contrast Trump’s 4 years in office with what Biden’s relentlessly disastrous decisions have wrought and tell me which has been chaotic.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

And if polling has it correctly- that the young are having less sex, than even before and that in Taylor Swift-like fashion young women are rejecting, then dissing men – ABORTION is not the red flag that will get young men to the polls to vote Biden. So you could say the Democrat election game plan is one-note.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

The thing is that Trump own goals (like Boris Johnson ones) don’t really count. They’re already priced in – people expect them – indeed might even be disappointed if there weren’t any.
Hillary Clinton’s own goals did matter. That’s why she lost.
Hard to know with Joe Biden though. He’s often so incoherent now it’s hard to take anything he says too literally. So it’s tempting to simply ignore everything he says.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

‘Priced in’ with his base for sure PB. But less sure with the small proportion of independents who may make all the difference in the forthcoming election. A criminal conviction won’t make slightest difference to his base, but others?
Biden may of course score own goals too. May all come down to who is more sure-footed (in more ways than one) next 6mths.

Josh Allan
Josh Allan
1 month ago

Britain now seems to be an outlier in having a belligerently left-wing Gen-Z.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh Allan

I am not convinced that is true. The vocal minority of Gen Z may well be left wing, but the silent majority are more sensible than people give them credit for.
Britain is coming towards the end of nearly a decade and a half of right centrist government, most can sense that the left centrist alternative does not have any answers to the real problems so a lot of people are beginning to think about non centrist alternatives be they left or right.

Josh Allan
Josh Allan
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

I would like to think that’s the case, and perhaps it is. But I know a lot of people in their 20s from all parts of the UK, and none are conservative.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
27 days ago
Reply to  Josh Allan

Well, they certainly won’t admit to being conservative. Breaking from the herd has consequences, socially and professionally.

David L
David L
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh Allan

Not among the working class, it doesn’t.

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
1 month ago

Indeed, it is a paradox.
The Americans who one would have thought would be most put off by Donald Trump (woke Gen Z kids raised on smartphones and social media) are the ones flocking to him most, to the chagrin of their elder Gen Y/millenial siblings and Gen X parents.

Rita X Stafford
Rita X Stafford
1 month ago

From Duggan’s mouth to God’s ear

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago

YouTube and streamers of that generation have introduced so many of the young to our conservative and libertarian movement. I regard that as one of the few miracles of life today, few as they are.